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I Attemped to build a ventlation system But


I Had a great idea to build this box for venting out soldering
fumes and polishing particals out the window the only problem is
the fan, I need to find one that can take one or two static
pressures there is a filter and the screen infront of it. I tried
Mcmaster-carr but they were really to expensive, but less
expensive than buying it in a catolog. Does anybody know were I
can by a fan under $100.00 that would do the job corectly it
needs to fit 11 by 11 area and is four inches deep and if posible
to have an addapter for a dryer hose be blown out the window. It
can’t be plastic because of backdrafts of flamable gases.

In trade I will send You the plans for it. The whole thing sits
on top of a bench and is under $300.

Thank you so much for all Your help orchidians, Travis Clark


Travis, you may want to try HomeDepot. In the plumbing
department, they sell small exhaust fans that are about 9 inches
in dia. and made of either steel or aluminum. You will also be
able to hook up exhaust tubing with it.

Good Luck,
Mark Cunha


The best source for fans of all types is Grainger. They have an
enormous catalog and web site with an amazing collection of
industrial supplies and equipment. Take a look and see if they
might have what you need.

Anthony Toepfer
Keene, NH


Look at the surplus fans at: One or
more of these should work fine. Don’t worry about plastic parts
unless you plan on sucking fire thru it. these should work fine
if you also don’t have too long an exhaust ( bigger diameter duct
is better) Al;so surplus center at 1-800-488-3407.


Try and find a used squirrel cage fan. They ought to be cheap,
and it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that would suit your
purpose. I bought two for $10.

I have my ventilation system rigged so that the fan is mounted
where the window pane used to be, and dryer duct snakes over to
the nasty areas. JB Weld and a modified tin bucket service as
the adapter (fan intake to dryer duct), but I’ll bet you could
make a much prettier version with sheet metal.
-Dana Carlson


I too am in need of a good ventilation system. This has been an
area that I’ve shrugged on, and even avoided before. I am in
the process of moving into a new studio, and I’m very excited to
fix it swell - (tomorrow I’m going to paint the concrete floors
purple! ) I would very much like some help about how to build
adequate ventilation…

Here’s the situation:

  1. I am on a shoestring budget.

  2. There is a window , which I think is my best bet to evacuate
    the soldering fumes. It is about 2 feet above where I intend
    the soldering station to go. The window slides open to the side
    creating about a 1 x 1 1/2 foot space.

  3. My polisher kicks up quite a storm. I clean the built-in
    filter monthly, but I dont know if it really does anything. I
    think I should have some lung-friendly system in place. I have
    no idea where to begin.

  4. If I’m going to go the distance, should I be considering
    ventilation for my pickle pot as well?

Any hints, suggestions, instructions, theories, blueprints,
jokes, mistakes not to repeat or general practical solutions
would be gratefully appreciated.



Travis, If you’re feeling ambitious … you can pick up
"squirrel-cage" blower motors for car heaters rather
inexpensively from a wrecking yard. Choose a newer car and
it’ll generally be quieter than the older ones.

Warm Regards,


Another great source for fans is a surplus catalog called “C and
H Sales Company”.

They stock many sizes, shapes and styles at very discounted
prices. Also other industrial components. It’s a cool catalog!

C and H Sales Company
2176 E. Colorado Blvd.
PO Box 5356
Pasadena, Ca. 9iii7
email c&



Venting is always a good thing ,I have seen many shops that have
little or no regard for proper ventilation . I prefer what I call
a squirrel cage blower to pull air out.It is very easy to create
a negitive air flow, so concern should be made to replace the
removed air . Not great for the air conditioned shop, as they
reuse the inside air. I also like to treat dust and fumes
separately,A proper dust collection area with a filter and a pipe
to a bench top.I have built several simple boxes and placed them
on the roof with a blower inside the box .They are quiet and out
of site.The best test is to make smoke and see where it goes.Good
luck and good air,Michael

I would very much like some help about how to build adequate

Hello, AnastasiA. a little while back, i took a workshop with
another local jeweller, Louise Jarvis. for her workstation, she
had a stainless steel table that was about 5’ long, with a pair
of good oven hoods and basic ductwork leading to a nearby window.
i have yet to get the oven hoods, but i’m planning on taking a
similar approach, using a simple table with a slab of marble on
top (cheaper than stainless steel). the marble slab was acquired
at a used building material store. hope this sparks some ideas,


I recently had a ventilation system installed over my soldering
area. It consists of a surround (three sided - around my
annealing pan) and a hood (with light) over the soldering area .
. . there is a remote fan (about 14 feet away, which vents to
outside- latest in bathroom exhaust fans). Oh, I nearly forgot
to mention that there is a 4" diameter sheet metal pipe which
goes from the hood to the remote fan.

I had my furnace specialist install this for me. He did
calculations so that there was no back draft to the furnace
(gas) and hot water tank (gas) in my basement. I love it. I
can actually solder with the fan going full blast and listen to
my books on tape!!!
I can provide measurements if anyone is interested.


When building a ventilation system make sure you don’t pull
fumes past your face on the way out, as happens with oven hoods
set above a fume source (such as a casting unit). Always test a
ventilation system with soap bubbles or a smoke trail from rope
or cloth to see how it really works.


Here is an extract from ‘The Jewelry Workshop Safety Report’


There is a real consensus that ventilation is incredibly
important in having a safe studio. You need it. Remember that it
is dusts, fumes, mists and vapors that cause much damage to
people. Therefore, if you can get the noxious materials away from
you right from the spot where they are generated, that is the
best solution, as long as they are removed completely and are not
immediately sucked back into your building by a wrongly placed
air makeup intake duct.

Dilution ventilation, which is where you open a window next to
you, and another one elsewhere, so that air passes you on its way
out, is used in many shops. Dilution ventilation is not generally
an effective approach. Even materials like rubber cement and some
permanent markers demand adequate ventilation over and above the
dilution type-their solvents can be very toxic (hexane in rubber
cement, for instance).

What we really want most of the time is local ventilation, which
means a sucking device, slot or tube close to the working area
that is generating the dust, mist or fumes that need to be
vented. The book Ventilation: A Practical Guide for Artists,
Craftspeople, and Others in the Arts by Clark, Cutter and McGrane
is a very good starting place, and has specifics on actually
building a ventilation system - I refer you to them for that
kind of as well as to details in McCann’s books.
There are canopies, slotted hoods and “elephant trunk” types, the
latter a hose with a hood that can be moved to different spots on
a work surface. Local ventilation, very close to the source of
the problem, is the best method of dealing with noxious dusts,
fumes, vapors and so on. Get the bad stuff away as fast as
possible, as close as you can get to the point where you are
generating it. Squirrel cage fans are usually very efficient.
Make sure you don’t move air past your face before it leaves, as
with many overhead hoods. Exhaust it safely from your working
space. There are different recommended speeds of air sucking into
your hood for various activities. Examples of different air
velocities barreling into the vent near the work include: 50-100
cubic feet per minute for plating, degreasing, evaporation from
chemical solutions, 100-200 CFM for welding, 500 CFM for
grinding and abrasive use (Stellman and Daum 295). Remember, too,
that the closer you are to a hood opening the more effective it
is. In general fumes and dusts being generated should be as close
as six to eight inches to the mouth of a local suction system.
Some writers take a harder position: “Wherever possible,
ventilated processes should be totally enclosed” (Stellman and
Daum 300).

A fume hood is a good idea if you use chemical solutions and
processes. Sometimes you can buy one at a government surplus
equipment liquidation company. You can build one yourself, but a
professionally built one will probably be of better quality. Use
sheet metal to build it rather than flammable plastic. Have a
ventilation specialist check out your plans before having
anything built. A fume hood should be placed at the back of the
workshop so that if there is an accident the exits are not
blocked. It should also have enough aisle space in front of it,
so that people working in the studio do not interfere with its
use or the air movement into it by moving about near it.

There are other home-made fume hood options as well, but these,
too, should be checked with a specialist before installing them.
Remember that the illusion of safety can induce one to do more
dangerous things than one should. Fume hoods should be tested
every time you use them with a smoke trail or soap bubbles. I had
two students who went to hospital with metal fume fever because
they did not test an extraction system before using it. Remember,
too, that you should exhaust your system properly, not into
areas where the toxic vapors contact people or are even drawn
back into the building by a nearby intake. I remember the horror
I felt when a Japanese friend of mine told me about her
apprenticeship and how her shop would exhaust mercury gilding
fumes from the workshop outside at face height onto a Tokyo

Ventilation means that air is being sucked out of your
workspace. This air then has to be made up from someplace,
perhaps from the rest of your building or from make-up intakes
placed carefully distant from the ventilation exit point. It is
important to ensure that your make-up air is not bringing in
vehicle exhaust fumes, is not downwind from a chimney that is
putting out toxic fumes, and is otherwise not bringing in
noxious air (Kornberg 111). In large institutions using
ventilation, care has to be taken to “temper” (heat up) the
incoming air in cold localities so that the work rooms do not get
too cold. Heat loss and the costs of heating have to be measured
against the health benefits of the ventilation. Me, I will go
with the ventilation and wear a sweater if necessary under my
work clothing.

In general the most effective way of dealing with proper
ventilation and still considering the cost of heating the
workspace is to reduce the amount of air being handled, and to
use it only when it is necessary for a specific task. Use a
low-volume but high-air-speed hood, sort of like the slit of a
vacuum hose. A hood in a slit shape with a small tube behind,
leading to the extraction fan, makes for a high air speed at the
mouth of the slit hood. Use local exhaust ventilation as much as
possible (Qualley 27). McCann says: “Ventilation should always be
tried before considering respiratory protection” (McCann, HHM

Anytime you can smell a material, solvent or chemical you should
take it as a warning. If a smell bothers you then it is
considered irritating and you should reduce your exposure to it
by changing your procedure or by using local ventilation. “If you
can smell it, you need ventilation” (Crumley 128, 130).

Slit ventilation is very effective in jewelry workshops.

Charles Lewton-Brain
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada

I can provide measurements if anyone is interested.

Yes please, could I have the details? I have someone who can
build it for me but he scared me away with initial quotes of at
least $2K in a space which is only about 18 sq. ft. I can be
reached at: Thanks, Shael

   I had my furnace specialist install this for me.  He did
calculations so that there was no back draft to the furnace
(gas) and hot water tank (gas) in my basement. 

For those of you who have gas fired heaters or water heaters
this is very important. If the fan in your soldering hood is
pushing more air out of your shop than there is fresh air coming
in from the outside the fan will pull the air it needs backwards
through the flues of the heater and water heaters. This can
fill your shop with carbon monoxide and other residue from the
gas flames. If you heat your shop or water with gas fired
appliances please be careful with your exhaust fan design.


James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601


An excellent post from Charles Lewton-Brain! The only thing I
can add is that straight pipe with the least amount of elbows is
the least restrictive and therefore the best in ducting. Avoid
corrugated, or plastic spiraled ducting if at all possible, and
be aware that bends add a great deal of equivalent length when
compared to straight pipe.

Options to be considered for “makeup air” (to replace the
exhausted air) aRe: 1 Run an intake from outside (away from
outside fume sources, e.g. exhaust vents, loading docks, etc.)
to the return on your forced air furnace or adjacent to your work
area. This could be equipped with a manual butterfly balancing
damper etc. 2 Use a Heat Recovery Ventilator to do your
exhausting. These are designed to ventilate the newer "tight"
houses which have problems with the indoor pollution being much
worse than the outdoor air pollution. (A HRV recovers some of
the heating or cooling from the exhaust air). 3 Manually crack
open a window when exhausting. IMHO the least desirable because
it is the most subject to human failure.

Lastly test your ventilation under the most severe condition,
running all exhaust fans (bathroom, kitchen, etc) clothes dryers,
furnace etc. etc. Remember that anything burning uses oxygen and
draws a vacuum into the space. A lite match can be used to check
for spillage at the draft diverter inside your gas furnace. It
is normal for there to be a slight downdraft on some units for a
couple of minutes when the furnace first starts but this should
clear and reverse within a couple of minutes as the furnace and
chimney heat up.

Anyone with specific questions can E-mail me privately and I
will try to help.
HeatingVentilationAirCondtioning serviceman

 gas flames.  If you heat your shop or water with gas fired
appliances please be careful with your exhaust fan design. 

An exhaust fan without provision for adequate fresh air intake
is an invitation to disaster. To make sure you have an adequate
air intake you should install one of those electronic gas
sniffers that sets off an alarm when there is a measurable
amount of carbon monoxide in the room. Dee


Good advice from a previous posting: “If you heat your shop or
water with gas fired appliances please be careful with your
exhaust fan design.”

I’d like to add to that. If you have an oil fired burner and
starve it for oxygen by exhausting more air than can come in, you
could have other problems. While there is no danger of creating
carbon monoxide or of explosion, you will get a “puff back”.
You’ll hear a loud pop, the flame will extinguish and you will
experience a thick cloud of black gooey soot that makes an
acetylene flame without oxygen seem antiseptic! It will settle on
and stick to everything and seep through cracks and crevices. The
clean up will be horrific!

The bottom line is that if you use combustion to heat space
and/or water (regardless of the fuel) and use an exhaust fan, be
certain that you are replacing the air you exhaust.

Ray Grossman
Ray Grossman Inc.